Hattie Lloyd 28/11/22
Borough Market: undeniably home to London’s finest fresh produce. And now it’s produced something even better: the latest outpost of Bar Swift.
Sibling to Swift Soho and Swift Shoreditch, it’s a two-storey cocktail temple within olive stone-spitting distance of London Bridge station, meaning that however long you find yourself ensconced in its low-lit, seductive cocoon, you’ll always make the last train home.
The Swift style is distinctive, and Swift Borough bears an almost uncanny resemblance to the original Soho bar: upstairs is a cool-hued, streamline art deco-styled, walk-in only spot dedicated to the noble art of daytime drinking aperitivi; but slipping down the staircase at the back will take you into a moody subterranean cavern offering some heady and complex cocktails.
Swift Borough comes with serious pedigree, founded by a couple of power couples: ex-Dead Rabbit ‘tender Bobby Hiddleston and Milk & Honey’s Mia Johansson, and Oriole and Nightjar founders Rosie Stimpson and Edmund Weil. Alongside these other cocktail dens, the original Swift makes a regular appearance on the World’s 50 Best Bars list – so it’s no surprise that the signature concoctions here are so invariably impressive.
The menu at Swift Borough takes both creative inspiration and literal ingredients from the bar’s locale. The proximity to Borough Market allows a trio of monthly specials to showcase the best seasonal ingredient on offer (and the team’s inventiveness). The basement’s Back Pocket menu, meanwhile, is an ode to the area’s past, with a little potted history of each drink’s namesake included. Highlights include the Biscuit Town, a phenomenal blend of dark cacao, chocolate & vanilla bitters and a milk-washed whisky blend that pays homage to Bermondsey’s legendary biscuit factory*; and the Golden Hinde, named after the nearby reconstruction of Drake’s pirate ship and here reconstructed as a nutty coupette of aged tequila, mead and brown butter. Most surprising was the Green Market, a short mix of coconut cachaça, lime sherbet and condensed milk, a typical serve in Brazil but rarely seen here.
In an area flush with pubs and wine bars but relatively few cocktail bars, Swift Borough is a serious coup for London Bridge. After all, a swift pint is good…
…but a Swift cocktail’s surely better.
*apparently the whole area used to smell of biscuits. Why it closed down, we’ll never understand.
NOTE: Swift Borough is open daily – you can find out more, and book a table, HERE.
Swift Borough | 66 Borough High Street, London SE1 1XF
Making a night of it? Take a look at our favourite restaurants in London Bridge
66 Borough High Street, London Bridge, SE1 1XF
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